East of England Paddlesports is the largest British Canoeing affiliated online group with over 12k members; we aim to promote safe paddling and encourage grassroots paddling of all types safely and responsibly.
Every year, we aim to raise money for a charity by doing something paddling-related. Last year, we had massive success with our Paddle Run challenge, where we raised money for Mind Charity with the members of our group participating in paddling and running duathlon. This year, our chosen charity is the RNLI, and the four admins of the group, Oli Jordan, Andy Large, Jess Ashley, and Matt Payne, will look to circumnavigate around Mersea Island on a Mega SUP (an 8-person paddleboard), which equates to 14 miles!
This event took place last Friday, and overall, it went a lot better than we thought it would. When people asked us how long we thought it would take to paddle around the island, we guessed 6-7 hours, but we did it in four hours and 42 minutes! With the weather we have been experiencing in the UK over the last few months, we have struggled to get our training in. Considering we had only managed to train twice on the Mega SUP, we are delighted with how well we did.
The weather conditions we had were so bizarre! In the days leading up to the challenge, we had high winds and storms, so to our surprise, we had a small window of opportunity to complete this challenge, and the day we set ourselves looked promising with low winds. However, we did experience a mixture of weather conditions on the day, from glorious sunshine, strong wind, torrential rain, and hail to some thunderstorms (luckily, we had just gotten off the water as the thunder and lightning started!) We waited on the Strood for the storm to pass; we watched the road flood and watched silly people in cars drive over the flooded road, then proceeded to finish our challenge in the sunshine.
We were lucky enough to have a rescue boat follow us around to ensure we were safe throughout the challenge, so a special thanks to Water Tech for sticking with us even through that torrential rain!
A special thanks to NRS Europe for kitting us out for the challenge and, of course, to Quroc for the Mega SUP we used for the challenge!
We were lucky enough for two amazing photographers to capture some incredible drone shots for us, so thank you, Colm O’Laoi and Barry Scott!
So far, including our offline donations, we have raised around £2,500 for the RNLI. If you wish to donate, we have set up a just-giving page. We hugely appreciate any donations, and they go to a good cause! www.justgiving.com/page/megasupchallenge23